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The Health Cognition and Behavior Lab is home to a multidisciplinary team of researchers. We study theoretical questions with real world implications for the public’s health.


Trainees publish papers in top journals. In the last year, they published 26 papers, 18 of which as first author. Find them under HPV Vaccine, Tobacco Control, and Other Research.


Dr. Qian Huang

(Pronunciation: Chee-an Hwang)

Post-doc Research Associate, Health Behavior

My research focuses on vaccination behavior in general and how to communicate accurate health information effectively to promote vaccination across populations. Additionally, I am interested the ways that people think about the impact of risk factors on health.

Dr. Mohammad Ebrahimi “Ebi” Kalan

Post-doc Research Associate, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

My primary research revolves around tobacco and other substance use behavior, particularly e-cigarettes, waterpipe, and marijuana. I am also interested in cancer prevention and global tobacco control research.


Ben Kahn

PhD Student, Health Behavior

I am interested in understanding the social and behavioral factors and public health policies that influence vaccine uptake and hesitancy, including around HPV and COVID-19 vaccination.

Poojan Karnik

MHA Student, Health and Policy Management

I am interested in administrative side of healthcare, strategies to improve access and operations research. I have been in both administrative and clinical roles to provide sexual health education and improve access to sexual health services at my previous institution.

Corey Levinson

MPH Student, Health Behavior

I am interested in chronic disease prevention, health communication, and improving health outcomes.


Marjorie Margolis

PhD Student, Health Behavior

I am interested in patient-provider communication and health decision-making related to cancer prevention and control. I have prior experience in designing and evaluating health communication campaigns.


Callie Whitesell

MPH Student, Health Behavior

I’m interested in how psychosocial factors influence both beneficial and risky health behaviors. My background is in prevention programming for college students as well as body image and exercise behaviors of young adults.

Project Managers

Ellie Bernstein

Project Coordinator, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

I am interested in preventive healthcare and promoting access to quality medical care to underserved communities. My previous experience is a combination of clinical care and biochemistry research.

Katie Kritikos

Project Manager, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

I am interested in risk perceptions and health communication strategies. My background is in health behavior, and I have experience with clinical and community-based research.


Jen Heisler-MacKinnon

Project Manager, Health Behavior

I am interested in adolescent health, HPV vaccination quality improvement, and the public policy impact on the health and sustainability of communities.  My previous experience is in health communications, nutrition education, and cancer prevention and control.


Jennifer Mendel Sheldon

Assistant Director of Research, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

I am interested in cancer prevention research, especially in tobacco control policy and health communication. My background is a combination of behavioral sciences and clinical trial research.